Administrative and Management Skills

Keeping ALSC Committees Strong

You Can Do It! Rosie the Riveter poster

As one of the Priority Group Consultants (PGC) for ALSC committees, I often focus on how we can keep our ALSC committees strong, fresh, and moving forward.  That’s the essential job of each of ALSC’s seven PGCs.  We work closely with committee chairs/co-chairs (between 3-20 ALSC committees/task forces each) to support, advise, help navigate, problem solve, keep abreast of their ongoing work and keep lines of communication open between them and ALSC leadership. Whew.

But we aren’t alone. All of us in ALSC can help do this work.

Late winter and early spring are critical times for ALSC. This is the time when ALSC process committee appointments by the Vice President begin (award committee appointments occur in fall). We’re talking about committees like Intellectual Freedom, Quicklists, Public Awareness, Education, Membership, Budget and so many more! These committees produce programs, CE, toolkits, booklists, research, information and products. They push ALSC work and national youth librarianship forward. VP Cecilia McGowen has begun these appointments already.

Let’s take a look at how we, as ALSC members, can help make the process easier AND continue to strengthen the organization – and your leadership!



  • Consider your committee work as an opportunity to learn leadership skills – including how to step up as chair after a year or two of service.
  • Encourage and support committee peers who would make a great chair/co-chair to step up and volunteer as next potential chair/co-chair.
  • Use your networks to identify potential committee members, including those representing diverse groups. Mentor them in how to get involved and volunteer.


  • Think succession planning to help strengthen the committee’s sustainability and continuity.
  • Note committee members who are strong potential leaders and mentor them in the background work of chairing.
  • Be direct and ask if they are interested in being considered for a chair opportunity. If yes, encourage them to volunteer and send a brief note to the vice-president expressing their interest – and you do the same!
  • Be a great generator of potential committee members (see above). Talk to people, encourage them to volunteer and drop a brief note to the vice-president telling why this person would be a great potential member.

All of us can share in the investment of making sure ALSC committee work continues in a sustainable, structured way. Strong committee continuity means smooth transitions that keep building ALSC and member strength. We can do it!

Head shot of guest blogger who writes about how ALSC members can join a committeeToday’s blog post was written by Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Consultant at Loch-Works Consulting and UW-Madison iSchool lecturer. She is the ALSC Priority Group Consultant for committees/task forces in Group IV – Organizational Support.

This blog relates to ALSC Core Competencies of II. Administrative and Management Skills; III. Communication Skills; and VIII. Professionalism and Professional Development.

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